[1 Corinthians 13:3-5]
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…”
TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:4-7
I wonder if you’re like me and you’ve found yourself quick to anger in the past few weeks? The section we are focusing on today is found at the end of verse 5: It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…” Note that it does not say, “Love is not angered.” There is a time and a place for righteous anger, but most of our anger doesn’t fall into that category. Much of our anger comes in short, reactive bursts that leave others feeling anything but loved. I’m struggling with this amidst the busyness of the season. It feels like I can fly off the handle at the smallest of frustrations.
I was reading my Advent devotion yesterday morning when I came across an entry entitled, “The Seeds of the False Self.” Henri Nouwen hit me squarely between the eyes when he asked,
What else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived?
I sat motionless as I realized the weight of that sentence. I know that I have a short fuse when it comes to anger. I can try and blame it on lack of sleep or tendencies in my personality- but what Nouwen says leaves no room for excuse.
I wrote in my journal: “I am not deprived of anything this world has to offer. I am the opposite of deprived… and yet my anger calls out. But Lord, let me not be deprived of you!”
We are heirs to the King of the Universe and yet we cry out like toddlers: “BUT I WANT IT!”
HOPE TO CLAIM:
“Chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Let every detail in your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Col. 3:12 & 17, The Message
When things don’t go exactly how we plan, ask God to interject His Spirit to help us be flexible and patient. We will not shift from being hot-tempered to patient over night. It will be a decision to clothe ourselves daily in the wardrobe God picked out for us. Let’s agree not to let ourselves get caught up in details, but rather be focused on the greatest gift of all.
CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
How can we deal with anger wisely?
-Admit your anger and deal with it… each day, every time.
-Analyze the source of your anger. Try asking yourself Nouwen’s question: What else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived?
-Be transformed by renewing your mind on God’s Word and letting Him be the one to change you.
“Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity. A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.” Proverbs 14:29-30, The Message
Love is not easily angered.
Advent Resource: Check back later this morning for a special post revealing the winner of a copy of “Song of the Stars” by Sally Lloyd-Jones!